Co-op News

Wis. Co-op Uses USDA Loan to Help Firm Add Jobs

By Steven Johnson | ECT Staff Writer Published: April 28th, 2014

A forest products business in Wisconsin is set to expand with the help of a rural development loan secured by Barron Electric Cooperative.

From left, Tri-State Lumber & Land owners Cathy and Tom Hansen and Mike and Robin Hageny receive a $657,000 loan from USDA with Aaron Weber of Sterling Bank and Melissa Klump of Barron Electric, who helped with the process. (Photo By: Barron Electric)

From left, Tri-State Lumber & Land owners Cathy and Tom Hansen and Mike and Robin Hageny receive a $657,000 loan from USDA with Aaron Weber of Sterling Bank and Melissa Klump of Barron Electric, who helped with the process. (Photo By: Barron Electric)

The $657,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will enable Tri-State Lumber & Land add as many as 10 jobs during the next three years.

The company’s growth plans call for producing pallet parts from small diameter low-grade timber, which will maximize production of all harvested timber.

USDA said the loan also will preserve 20 jobs at the business in Trego, in northwest Wisconsin.

Founded in 1996, Tri-State Lumber & Land is a locally owned sawmill that specializes in high-grade lumber, paneling, flooring, corner trim and moldings for wholesale and retail markets.

“We greatly appreciate Barron Electric’s assistance with the loan,” said Tom Hansen, owner of the company.

The loan is part of the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program. Under the program, USDA provides zero-interest loans for co-ops to relend for job creation efforts, typically through revolving economic development accounts.

Co-ops support the program through prepayment of their Rural Utilities Service loans.

“Barron Electric is excited to receive this USDA funding; this will help to improve the quality of life in our service territory,” said Dallas Sloan, general manager of the Barron-based co-op.

“Over the past 10 years, Barron Electric has loaned over $2 million to 13 area businesses and created more than 100 local jobs,” he added. The co-op serves more than 19,000 members in eight counties.

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